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Quit Smoking to Win a Car or Cash
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Quitting smoking is one of the most popular New Year's resolutions, but one that people struggle with given the addictive nature of nicotine. This year, Elgin St. Thomas Public Health will be helping those who have decided quit by encouraging them to sign up for Leave The Pack Behind's wouldurather... contest and the Canadian Cancer Society's Driven to Quit challenge.

For the first time, the annual wouldurather ... contest is offering eight weeks of free nicotine patches or gum to all eligible participants in addition to the two grand prizes of $2,500. The contest is open to all students and young adults between the ages of 18 and 29. The same participants and any other smokers over the age of 19 in Ontario who have used tobacco at least once weekly for at least 10 months in 2013, and who have used tobacco at least 100 times in their life are also encouraged to sign-up for the Canadian Cancer Society's Driven to Quit challenge where they will have an opportunity to win a new car. "Whether you're renewing a New Year's resolution or thinking of making a quit attempt, Driven to Quit or wouldurather... can offer great incentive and support to help you become smoke-free," said Laura Dougherty, Health Promoter for Elgin St. Thomas Public Health.

Along with Driven to Quit and wouldurather... , Elgin St. Thomas Public Health will be hosting Stop on the Road workshops for those looking for additional support to quit smoking. Workshops will be offered throughout the year in St.Thomas and Elgin County. For many smokers the cost of nicotine replacement products can be a barrier to quitting. The STOP (Smoking Treatment for Ontario Patients) Program workshop offers eligible participants five weeks of cost-free nicotine replacement therapy and smoking cessation information to help them in their quit attempt.

Tobacco remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Ontario, killing 13,000 people annually or 36 people a day. Many smokers make five to seven attempts to quit smoking before they quit successfully and accessing quit smoking supports and programs can help increase a smoker's chance of becoming tobacco-free.

Registration for Leave The Pack Behind's wouldurather... contest is open until January 26th, 2014 and the Canadian Cancer Society's Driven to Quit challenge that follows is open for registration until February 28th, 2014. For more information on local quit smoking supports and services available, please contact Elgin St. Thomas Public Health at 519-631-9900 ext. 1324.

About Canadian Cancer Society's Driven to Quit Challenge

The Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division's Driven to Quit Challenge, presented by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of Johnson & Johnson Inc., makers of NICODERMĀ® and NICORETTEĀ®, is a health promotion campaign that is intended to motivate adult Ontario tobacco users to quit smoking or other forms of tobacco for one month with the help of a support "buddy" for their chance to win a grand prize of a car. Participants are encouraged to access Smokers' Helpline and Smokers' Helpline Online for cessation support. To claim a prize, selected winners must demonstrate that they have remained tobacco-free for the month of March 2014.

About Leave the Pack Behind's Wouldurather... Contest

Leave The Pack Behind is an age-tailored tobacco control initiative offered year-round in Ontario. Funded by the Government of Ontario with generous prize support provided by the makers of Thrive and Habitrol, the wouldurather... contest aims to motivate and encourage young adult Ontarians to live tobacco-free.

Editor's Note

Want the car or the money but think you can't quit smoking? Think again! In 2011 my partner and I participated in the Health Unit's quit smoking offer. I had smoked 1 to 2 packs a day for 50 years and he had smoked 3 to 4 packs a day for about 40 years. We quit in August 2011. He was off the cigarattes and the quit smoking aids in 10 days; it took me 12 weeks to be completely off the quit smoking aids (I used all of mine and some of his). In just one week of not smoking we started to get our wind back. In three weeks my permanent cough was gone. The next spring my allergies were greatly reduced. I have not needed any allergy medication since November of 2013 - for the first time in 20 years. For both of us, our complexion and skin tone colour have improved and energy levels have increased. As well, we have saved a considerable amount of money over the last two years by not buying cigarettes and are no longer in the group who stand outside shivering in the cold or trying to stay dry in the rain just to have a cigarette.

Neither one of us really wanted to quit at the time we signed up for the program and neither of us thought for a minute that the program would work. With only a modest amount of determination to stick with it and give it a real shot, and each other's support, we both quit smoking and never went back to it. We no longer smell like stale tobacco and neither does our home. As time goes on we keep finding more and more benefits to having quit smoking. Sign up for the Health Unit's program - it does work and you just might win even more than the benefits that come from quitting smoking! Doesn't a nice, new car or $2,500 tempt you? You can do it.

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